overture

A piece of music played at the beginning of a play, opera or ballet in order to set the mood; also, an orchestral concert piece written as a single movement.

Organ

A keyboard instrument with many pipes made to sound by forcing air through them, and controlled by keyboards and pedals. Also called a pipe organ. Organs are used a lot […]

Orchestration

Putting together an arrangement of a piece of music for all the different instruments in the orchestra.

Orchestra

A mixed group of instruments, with a large number of string instruments, and wind and percussion too.

Oratorio

A piece of music for vocal soloists, chorus, and orchestra, that is usually based on a religious story, often with text from the Bible.

Opus

Opus means work. It is used by those who write music to keep their music in order. For example, their first piece of music might be called Opus 1, and […]

Operetta

Like opera, an operetta is a play set to music in which the characters sing. However, in opera everything is sung. In operetta, there are spoken lines between the singing.

Opera Seria

Serious opera. These operas are about heroes and myths.

Opera Comique

French opera with spoken words, instead of singing.

Opera Buffa

Italian for comic opera. This is a light, funny kind of opera.